November 16, 2017: The Border Wall: What it Means for New York

The New York City region and Long Island in particular, have become flash-points for a heated public debate over current immigration policies, epitomized by the proposal to build a Border Wall.

Our panel discussions on the meanings of the border wall and its politics for the New York Metropolitan Region, and Long Island in particular, brought together leading scholars, community leaders and activists have to say about this debate and its actual consequences for where we live.  Check it out!; all the speeches and discussion are now available right here…

Click on the presenter’s name to view their talk on YouTube:

Part I. The Border Wall: What it Means for Greater New York.

Edward S. Casey, Philosophy, Stony Brook University. Co-author, Up Against the Wall.

Edward Casey’s talk details border walls around the world today, particularly the US/Mexico border, and how they are a vast physical barrier but also symbolize behind-the-scenes militarized efforts to keep people out; he addresses the resulting implicit and explicit racism that occurs from such constructions. He discusses how these borders affect greater New York.

David Hernandez, Latina/o & Latin American Studies, Mount Holyoke College. Author, Pursuant to Deportation.

David Hernandez discusses the symbolic and rhetorical impact of the Border Wall; he shows that immigrant detention and deportation is administrative and designed to discriminate against migrants and immigrants. He emphasizes the racialization of such practices, particularly against Latinx (9 out of 10 detainees are Latinx), and illustrates the ways in which Donald Trump uses racist rhetoric against immigrants to promote xenophobia today.

Alexa Dietrich, Anthropology, Wagner College, Ongoing study of transnational Mexican families.

Alexa Dietrich’s talk focuses on transnational families, particularly in Staten Island and the New York City area, and the ways they deal with cultural, legal, economic, political, and linguistic transitions. Dietrich also addresses the symbolic and literal implications of the Border Wall on these communities.

Camille Mackler, Director of Immigration Legal Policy, New York Immigration Coalition.

Camille Mackler discusses her work as a legal service provider for immigrants in New York; she is involved with the largest and oldest immigrant rights organization. Mackler explains her work by responding to five myths about immigrants and the discrimination and injustices that result from these myths.

Part II. The Border Wall: What it Means for Long Island

Robert Brenneman, Sociology, Saint Michael’s College. Author, Homies and Hermanos.

Robert Brenneman’s talk focuses on Central American gangs; he emphasizes that iron fist rhetoric will perpetuate violence and inclusion will combat it. Brenneman discusses cultural avenues of respect and belonging can often shun and shame; he emphasizes adapting cultural practices to be more inclusive.

Jennifer Rogers-Brown, Sociology, LIU Post. Rural Migrants Ministries.

Jennifer Rogers-Brown discusses her work with Rural Migrant Ministries, which aids migrant farm workers who need legal and community assistance to combat increased border security and lack of worker protections. She discusses, in particular, farm workers on Long Island who face difficulties associated with immigrant statuses; as farm workers, they lack rights, sanitary living and working conditions, and other protections.

Sergio Argueta, S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth.

Risco Mention-Lewis, County Deputy Police Commissioner, Suffolk County.

Risco Mention-Lewis discusses her work as County Deputy Police Commissioner of Suffolk County in Long Island. She started as a prosecutor in 1999 and then started focusing on the streets and gangs. Her work as a prosecutor inspired her to go to the source of some of the issues she saw in the courtroom; she discovered that young people, particularly young people of color, are in dire need of intervention that the court system does not provide. Her work now focuses on providing intervention to gangs on Long Island.